Points of View - “Die Rohre”
Written by MFA student Aj Cooke, Points of View explores local gallery exhibitions in order to spark an open and accessible exchange of ideas and nurture collective intelligence about the art being created and displayed in our community.
Die Rohre - Corner Crew
Craft House Gallery
Nov. 17, 2014 - Jan. 31 2015
While walking down Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, a matrix of bubblegum colored constructions caught the corner of my eye. Turns out that Craft House now exhibits artwork in their window space – as if we needed yet another reason to appreciate this local gem (oh, I’m not complaining) – and the artists known as Corner Crew are responsible for this saturation before my eyes entitled “Die Rohre.”
Corner Crew is the local artist duo of Tom Duimstra and Dave Warmenhoven. The pair define themselves as “collaborators with a common vision and purpose; to make art for art sake… art that is not influenced by a motive to make money, but, rather serves the purpose of appreciation in a minimalistic way.” The pair install corner pieces in areas that are perhaps overlooked during the daily grind in hopes of bringing attention to these spaces. Corner Crew claims to have installed “over 150 corners east of the Mississippi,” and hopes to boast 300 throughout the United States and Canada next year.
One of the Corner Crews "corners"
Yet “Die Rohre” contains more than corners. Rather, the window gallery showcases small sculptures standing independently like brightly painted totems of found materials that were altered, yet somehow feel undisturbed in their inherent properties.
One of Corner Crew's assemblages
The little tributes are stationed in a grid constructed of industrial cardboard tubes that continually compare the matrix to the playful assemblages which I hope are small prototypes for large towers soon to be erected everywhere (yes, everywhere).
Corner Crew's work in the front window of Craft House Gallery
Corner Crew purposefully created the tube grid structure so that it could be transported “from window space to window space; giving us the flexibility to show in a variety of venues” much like their installed corner graffiti traverses the country for greater representation. Admittedly, I have never seen one of these corners out in the wilds of the urban environment, and upon this reflection, I had a realization: perhaps I have, and isn’t that a great point? Let me explain.
Corner Crew states that both the corners and sculptures are similarly built from “…found object pieces created from materials that have been saved from the landfill,” and designed in the same way where some areas of the material are left untouched to “…highlight the natural patina and character of the material.”
Another assemblage from Corner Crew
Continuing to say “the paint enhances the beauty of the untouched areas,” the artists draw a parallel between the sculptures that are both raw and altered, as well as the painted corners that are installed on an untouched material, and the building itself. This is where my point comes in (about time): why, when instantly drawn to the window sculptures, have I not seen the corners before? Perhaps there are none installed where I venture, but more than likely the case is that I unfortunately abide by the conventions of looking for art in a white-cube gallery/museum, and fail to see what is right in front of me (for everyone). Consider, where do you look for art at? Therefore this unobservant observer recommends checking out “Die Rohre,” but perhaps more importantly, a serious investigation and documentation into the locations of the notorious corners that have escaped my notice. Scavenger hunt, commence.